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Senate rules chairman urges Crist to veto ‘unconstitutional mess’ teacher pay bill

by Dara Kam | April 14th, 2010

Sen. Alex Villalobos, the Republican Rules Committee chairman, joined a slew of Democratic lawmakers urging Gov. Charlie Crist to veto the contentious teacher pay bill.

But Villalobos used a different tack to persuade the governor, who has until midnight Friday to act on the measure (SB 6): it’s a “constitutional mess.”

Villalobos argued in a letter to Crist sent Tuesday that the bill that virtually eliminates job security for teachers and bases their salary increases on how well their students perform on standardized tests poses a host of potential constitutional problems.

The bill impinges on local school boards’ control over the schools in their districts; violates the collective bargaining rights of school employees; imposes an unfunded mandate on every school district; and unconstitutionally delegates public school rule-making authority to the Department of Education, Villalobos, a lawyer, wrote.

And it violates teachers’ due process rights by not giving them a way to challenge the new standards in court, Villalobos argued.

Villalobos was one of four Republicans who voted against the bill.

SB 6 gives education department officials “unfettered rulemaking authority” to create the standardized tests, evaluation methods, compensation and evaluation procedures, among other things, Villalobos wrote. State agencies are limited in their rule-making authority to statutory guidelines.

“Yet the proponents of Senate Bill 6, when acknowledging the inherent unintended consequences and reach of the bill, constantly seek to reassure critiques that the ‘agency’ will ‘fix it’ in rulemaking,” Villalobos wrote.

“No agency can fix what it does not have the specific power to address, no matter how broken it may be. The only fix for Senate Bill 6 is your exercise of your veto authority,” Villalobos, R-Miami, went on.

“With all due respect, Governor, Senate Bill 6 is a constitutional mess. I urge you to exercise your power of veto to begin the process of cleaning it up.”

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33 Responses to “Senate rules chairman urges Crist to veto ‘unconstitutional mess’ teacher pay bill”

  1. Voter Says:

    Thank you Sen. Villalobos. A veto will, if nothing else, save millions of dollars in legal fees defending this train wreck of a bill.

  2. albert camus Says:

    this constitution thing is allways a sticking point for republicans, can’t they just legeslate away this constitution and get on with their police state??? where are the Oath Takers its time for a military coup…

  3. Chuck Shaw Says:

    The teacher pay bill is an outrage. It represents what is wrong with Tallahassee and why I’m running for Palm Beach County School Board.

    There is no one more important in education than an excellent teacher. Everything that happens in society and in the workplace is dependent on what happens in the classroom. And what happens in the classroom depends on having excellent teachers.

    We have learned from the teacher pay is that we in Palm Beach County cannot depend on Tallahassee to do what is right for our teachers and students. We must look out for ourselves and build community support for teachers in Palm Beach County.

    As a principal and teacher, I have seen what happens first hand. Over three decades I have heard a lot of talk about paying teachers better but have seen little progress. If we want the best schools in Florida we have to pay for the best teachers.

    Let’s make Palm Beach County the best school district in Florida and one fo the best in the nation.

  4. s. tring Says:



  5. BobinBoynton Says:

    I am glad someone gets it. It is a “constitutional and unlawful mess”!!!
    Governor Crist will have a huge mess on his hands if he signs this bill along with a Mass Exodus of Teaching Staff.

  6. Mike1 Says:

    WOW, I see all these Demcrates talking about the const! Yet said nother as Obama broke every rule to get health care passed

  7. Chester Says:

    I don’t know why teachers think they ar ethe only poeple in the country who don’t have to perform well in order to keep their jobs. Salesmen don’t get paid if they can’t sell. Teachers shouldn’t get paid if they can’t teach.

  8. RUSERIOUS Says:

    Chester U R A MORON! You have NO IDEA what teachers have to go thru,put up with,and all for terrible pay! They have to raise your children besides educate them becouse MOST parents are failing miserably at their jobs. They teach no respect,no accountability,and then blames the teacher when little johnny fails….SHUT UP ALREADY!!!

  9. Chester Says:

    I have to point out that we ALL have to put up with terrible stuff in our jobs. Work is a four letter word. Using the person in sales as an example again, he or she is responsible for not making the sale when it was just the “stupid” customer who didn’t understand how great the product is. A teacher’s job is to find a way to get the children to learn. If a person can’t do that, then that person is not fit to be a teacher.

  10. James Says:

    I may not like the approach SB6 takes, but I will admitt that the school system in Palm Beach County is horrible. My daughter graduated in 2003 from Boca High in the top 3% and I’m not impressed with the result. All that FCAT crap. She couldn’t have a meaningful conversation about the Civil War or any American History for that matter, to save her life. And what’s sad is she knows it. She asked me for reading material on certain subjects so that she wouldn’t be caught off gard at a dinner parties. Glad my tax dollars are going to keep the ignorance going.

  11. Chester Says:

    And on the topic of money, paying someone more won’t make them do the job better. It might make it possible to lure better teachers, but the higher pay shouldn’t apply automatically to the teachers who have the job at the time the higher pay goes into effect. Everyone needs to prove they deserve to be paid more.

  12. James Says:

    Chester, you aparently are confusing the real world with that of Civil Servants. 20 years and you get to live off the Man. That’s what it’s all about.

  13. RUSERIOUS Says:

    Again Chester, You don’t get it! You must be a salesman. Using your comparison,if as you call them “stupid customers” doesn’t understand your product,you’re just out your commission. If a teacher fails,then we lose an entire generation of kids. Your “stupid”sale means nothing! But these kids are our future! By these standards,all you will do is drive away GOOD teachers,to private schools,or other teaching jobs in other states that don’t treat their teachers like second class citizens!

  14. Shari Says:

    Chuck Shaw
    The teacher law is not an outrage and that should not be utilized as your campaign motto and/or campaign issue.
    Otherwise, you might be seen as a backlash candidate in our community. The choice is yours.

    I expect that both you an I firmly believe we have excellent administrators and teachers overall for the Palm Beach School District. Unfortunately, it is the minority of the profession that brings the blemish and the vile vocal to our community.

    Teachers should be evaluated on performance and those who deliver each day have no concern. Most likely, that would be 90% of the teachers. Those 90% would be happy to see that 5-10% be replaced. Thus, they would be supportive of extensive training to those teachers to retain their position. All in a shared effort to improve the quality of education in Palm Beach.

    Economics of the Palm Beach County School District should be realized as the revenue for the schools is funded by Federal, State and Local Tax Revenue.

    So, why would those teachers who want an increase in salary rather than being faced with major staff reductions would not want to support the district and state’s application in the Federal funding program. Most states want the money so don’t let a few vocals take away the potential money to Palm Beach County School District for our students and the educational programs.

  15. OBIWAN Says:

    So much for respect for the Will of the Majority. This founding tenet of democracy is as old as Greek city states that first practiced it…

    Dissenting Republicans:
    - Charles Dean ——= Leon, etc.
    - Paula Dockery —–= Lake, etc (Gov?)
    - Dennis Jones ——= Pinellas
    - Alex Villalobos—-= Miami-Dade
    Miami-Dade House:
    - Marcello Llorente
    - Juan Planas
    - Julo Robaina
    - Juan Zapata

    Must be a Miami-Dade thang?? Didn’t they go bankrupt a decade ago as their politicos stole all the money – had to merge the city and county??

  16. Science Teacher Says:

    Charlie, how many customers do you deal with for 50 minutes each day? What professional, research-based educational tools do you use in your commission work? How different is each of your products? (Do any of your products work differently from one day to another?) What area of expertise do you have?

  17. Joe the Teacher Says:

    Chester, you are 100% correct that if the teacher is ineffective they should be shown the door. BUT, it is not the fault of good teachers if ineffective ones are left in the classroom. That is the fault of the administration. Yes, you can get rid of bad teachers. BUT, it takes work and Principals don’t want to do that. Principals are the problem when it comes to bad teachers. They hire them but refuse to work through the process to fire them. It is not the fault of good teachers.

  18. gator1 Says:

    What if you have 2 salesmen? 1 sells to people on Palm Beach and the other sells to immigrants who do not speak English. Not only do the immigrants not have money to buy the product, but they can not even speak the language to understand what is being sold. Obviously the salesman selling to the Palm Beach crowd will have better results. This does not mean he is a better salesman, just a luckier one.
    I am not a teacher. I just think it is unfair to expect a teacher in Riviera Beach to get the same results as a teacher in Boca.

  19. john mo Says:

    Best analogy without recriminations, name calling etc. I’ve seen today!!
    You deserve an ‘ATTA BOY’

  20. James Says:

    Joe the teacher: Wow! It’s the admins fault? Everytime I read a story about a teacher being fired the rest of you jump up and down. If you know of poor performing co-worker rat them out. The problem is most of you view your co-workers like union buddies. All on the same side as it were.

    Science Teacher: Don’t be so ignorant to think your the only poor soul who has to do constant homework and keep up on text. Try designing a building. And before you think it, Architects start off way below teachers in pay and it only takes 20 years to learn. so when you retire we just start making real money.

  21. melody Says:

    Science Teacher you are a science teacher and keep up the comments! Good job and great thinking!

    Nobody should be fired if not given proper funding and a chance to improve that which is in their control. Many people don’t understand that each grade level has numerous teachers and your career can be ruined should that year’s classroom be filled with an impossible amount of challenges.

    Right now Florida Public School Teachers are the folks riding the trash trucks that come upon the Chinese Drywall ripped out and left on Main Street for disposal.

    The state of Florida needs to end all the special interest tax exemptions that have no proven social value and properly fund public education before putting the blame on teachers.

  22. JoeC Says:

    JAMES are you really comparing “Designing a Building” to Teaching kids? You are obviously not happy with your Job. If it takes 20 years to start making good money, maybe you should get a new profession.

    Teachers have been getting F-ed over for a very long time in this country. its a systematic approach to attempt to Privitize the School industry. Imagine how much Cash would be in the school system for Corporations..

  23. Tom Pain Says:

    I read that 63 page easy-to-read English bill and the very thorough analysis the education committee presented.

    Although reported here previously, it made me very aware we need SB 6 to remedy our problems that unions have caused: In 39 School Districts 100% of all teachers got “satisfactory ratings”. That included all 76,700 teachers in Broward, Miami-Dade and Hillsborough – not 1 needed improvement??

    Art Johnson – on the other hand – claimed 70% of PBC teachers were “ineffective”. Yet over 90% of those received “satisfactory ratings”??

    Teachers complain privately about a few bad eggs – they politely comment in public they think so-and-so would be a “better fit” for their friends’ children…

    Let’s get real, SB 6 is a step in the right direction. It is very specific – as are all SBE / FLDOE rules and regs! OPPAGA audits to assure important ones are followed – it is a constant improvement process and no one is ever perfect before the updates demand higher standard!!

    Is it unconstitutional to require every school clean every restroom every nite with a specific biocide formula?? The safety of the children comes first, so how many administrators actually inspect to assure this happens??

    None of you here ever took the challenge to show one valid large scale peer group reviewed research project proving that smaller Class Size actually improves student performance. We might all believe it should, but we did it on faith!! Why then can’t you have any faith the world will not end when high quality teachers are rewarded and “needs improvement” responds or is booted out of education??

  24. James Says:

    Joe: I was comenting on the fact that teaching is not the only profession that takes a lot of hard work and research. I love my profession by the way. No better job. If you think teachers are getting F-over maybe they should quit. I noticed you didn’t comment on the “It’s the admins fault” segment of my statement.

  25. Kathryn Clark Says:

    Tom Pain – where is the large scale peer reviewed study showing that eliminating a teacher’s right to due process before being fired would improve student learning?

  26. James Says:

    Teaching kids? Are they goats? Yes. designing a building is a lot like teaching children. Most adults can’t read scale drawings or comprehend what your presenting. It’s like teaching children except they hold the purse strings and if you don’t do your job you get fired. I think I’m starting to like SB6.

  27. Math teacher Says:

    I received data regarding the gains or lack of gains my students have made over the past four months. My three honors classes showed gains between 85% to 95%. On the other hand the two classes where I put the most energy toward, the classes where I go on the internet weekly looking for ways to simplify the material so the kids will “get it”, the kids I talk to individually and beg them to come for extra help, were the classes who not only did they not make learning gains, the percentage of students who were considered “on target” dropped in both classes. So am I a good teacher or a bad teacher? Will my evaluation be effective or ineffective? If it happens again next year – will that cause me to not be allowed to renew by teaching certificate in the state of Florida? There are way too many questions and no one who wrote the bill seems to be able to come up with any answers. I feel that, more than anything else, is why teachers are so upset. No one has any answers and that is a scary feeling not knowing if you will be denied a teaching certificate when it is time to renew. If denied a renewal you will then be unable to teach in most states as they will ask if you have ever had your certificate denied. It’s being in the dark that brings out the fear, anger, and frustration.

  28. MomWasATeacher Says:

    JoeC: We should all wish it was a “systematic approach to attempt to privatize the School industry.” And what you should imagine is how much better children would be educated if that were to happen.

    I’m sure there is money to be made in education by corporations, but they could do a better job and still make a profit.

    If you want something done inefficiently, poorly and for as much money as possible, you have the government do it. That goes for everything, including education. Government employees will tell you that themselves and they think it’s funny.

    Teachers may be good people, but their unions are poisonous to education.

  29. Shari Says:

    Students’ need our support:

    Villalobos’ comments quoted in press sounded like he is up for re-election and/or setting his platform for the future. Only,a politician and/or his influenced parties would make a comment about all of the lawyers that would be necessary to deal with this bill if passed. Quess what? The politician would be engaging lawyers at his disposal through an unlimited taxpayer base at his disposal. That practice and abuse of public monies needs to end.

    Reality for all: politicians, administrators, teachers, parents and/or taxpayers after this Friday we must accept the outcome. It is vital that all move on and look at improving our educational program for our students and our future leaders locally, state-wide and nationally.

    Don’t let a few whom are vocal, loud, and believe they have the intimidating voices in opposition of the federal application by Palm Beach and the state to be successful in receiving substantial additional federal funds. Many other states will be glad to receive this money over FL for their own state students’ education program if granted in the application process.

    Why does FL and/or a minor group put up road blocks? With all of the negativity expressed, I would have hoped that those minority vocal teachers would have had the student’s education program as their goal. Their jobs are safe if they do their job. Thus, it has been unnecessary for the other unnecessary scare tatics that have been employed when this bill was introduced, explained and passed by the legislature.

    Fl residents do not pay the high taxes that support the educational program as most states. However, in the past few years there has been significant increases by our FL students nationally. Thus, this accomplishment has been made by all in a united front for whom-our students.

    Time is for all of us to be positive.

  30. JoeC Says:

    MomWasATeacher: Dont get me wrong, I HATE Unions and see them for what they are. Im not supporting Unions, I am supporting teachers!

    But if you think its a good idea to let Corporations run our school system then I think you are sadly mis guided in life. I Believe that Corporations have NO PLACE in War (Military Corps) and they have NO place in the School System.

    You want to talk about Mis Management! What happened to the Banks and Wall Street?? They are Huge, Money Hungry Corps that put PROFIT over PEOPLE and they helped to drive us into a recession.. So Yeah. Lets Hire the coporations to take care of our children because they are sooooo Fiscally responsible.

  31. YoungTeacher Says:

    I know debating like this rarely changes minds but I thought I would still provide a little insight into the classroom if any will listen.
    I teach young kids many of my students are learning English as I teach them. Last year my scores were outstanding in data this year they will not be. I have made wonderful growth with my students but I can not get a child that speaks no English to grade level in one year. Please understand I work very hard. I work an extra hour and half every single day with few exceptions sometimes more (for free). I will have my masters degree in August. I love my students and teaching.
    As I said I will not receive high marks this year in data. Is it because I was a better teacher last year or perhaps that I had students that needed me a little more this year? Do I deserve to lose my certificate when next year I receive more students that need me? The office gives me difficult students because I do a good job with them, so I should lose the ability to teach or my pay should be cut?

  32. MomWasATeacher Says:

    JoeC: Happy to hear your view of unions. Teachers unions are especially pernicious because of education’s importance. They are the ones fighting this bill and every attempt at accountability. I am all for good teachers getting paid like bankers, but it must be merit based, not union negotiated.

    I agree that companies have no place in the military. (Although the reason the military has Blackwater do so much is because they can do it more efficiently, but it’s still wrong, even tho it makes my point.) Education, on the other hand, is different. People with money choose PRIVATE schools for a reason. We need a voucher system, if not privately run public schools.

    Private companies that did a bad job educating could be fired (unlike teachers today), and some other company could step in, and advancements in educational techniques would certainly result.

    As far as your anecdote about Banks demonstrating how private companies are bad, that example is much more complicated than you make it. Yes, they were greedy and did much harm, but gov’t ineptitude did a lot to cause that first.

    If I know anything, it’s that the current (non competition based) system doesn’t work. There is no defending it (unless you’re a teacher’s union).

  33. mike c Says:

    James where do you get your 20 years to retirement? The only civil servants that get that in Fl are Firemen and Policemen. They get it because of the danger in their work.

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